Minnesota– Minnesota suffered an extremely slow start to the season, 3-6 overall, but have ridden their recent hot streak to the best start in franchise history. With 30 points through 21 games, the Wild find themselves ranked 5th in the NHL standings through a quarter of the season. They finished this week in the midst of a five game winning streak, and have won ten of their last twelve games. They relied on goaltender Josh Harding, who took home one of the NHL’s Three Stars of the Week this past week. Harding won an improbable ten consecutive home starts, and is in the top 3 in the league in wins, saves percentage and GAA.
Los Angeles- There was a collective gasp from the Kings faithful when All-Star goalie Jonathan Quick went down with a groin injury at the end of last week, which is expected to keep him out until Christmas. Could you blame them? He is the heart of the Kings team, a sick goalie, and carried them to a Stanley Cup just two years ago. Everyone thought the Kings were doomed, but that’s because nobody saw Ben Scrivens coming. As hard as it is to believe, LA has been better in the week since Quick’s injury, as Scrivens put on a show. He had two consecutive shutouts, led the Kings to a 3-0 record, and took home the NHL Player of the Week honor. Here at FAM we don’t expect he can keep it up, but we intend to enjoy it while it lasts.
Tyler Seguin- Do you think the Bruins are starting to second guess their off-season trade of Tyler Seguin? They should be. Sure, there was some off the ice immaturity, but isn’t that to be expected from a 20 year old millionaire in a major city? Perhaps they should have talked to the Blackhawks before trading away the young star. Patrick Kane went through it in Chicago but the Hawks didn’t simply give up on him and trade him, and both have since benefited financially and professionally. As this season goes along, it looks like Boston gave up on Tyler Seguin a little too early. He has blossomed in Dallas, and has taken on a leadership role on the young Stars team. He is among the league leaders in both points, and goals, and is developing into a superstar. You don’t have to look any further than his 4 goal, 5 point performance this week against the Flames for evidence. Seguin lead the league in both points and goals this week, with five and seven respectively while the Stars went 3-0.
Calgary- The Flames have lost six straight games, and now find themselves four points out of last place in the league. Offense has not been the problem in Calgary; they find themselves in the middle of the pack in the NHL in goals scored. However, they can’t seem to keep the puck out of their own net, and struggle to stay in games due to terrible play in their own end. They are still searching for a replacement for recently retired net-minder Miikka Kiprusoff, and still haven’t found a replacement for #1 defenseman Mark Giordano who is out with a broken ankle. Never was this more apparent than during their humiliating 7-3 blowout loss to the Dallas Stars this week, during which Dallas’ goalie finished the game sitting on top of his net. Don’t believe me?
Colorado- All good things must come to an end eventually, and for the Avalanche things came to a screeching halt this week. After suffering only two losses all season, the Avs more than doubled that total this week losing three more games. Losing three close games in a row would be one thing, but losing in the manner the Avs did is another. They suffered blowout losses to the lowly Panthers 4-1, and the St Louis Blues 7-3. To make matters worse, they lost their leading scorer, Matt Duchene, for at least one week due to injury.
Detroit- The Wings play on the ice and the Detroit economy share a common characteristic – the ability to collapse. Despite jumping out to early leads in many of their games, the Red Wings cannot hold on. They have now lost six straight games, and seven of their last ten. Perhaps the most surprising part of the losing streak is the team’s inability to win at home in Joe Lewis Arena. Typically one of the toughest road places to play in the league, Detroit has lost a franchise record 7 home games in a row. For Detroit to get it turned around, they are going to need to improve in their defensive end and start getting production from their big off-season signing, Stephen Weiss.